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  2. "Always, you'll know, stressing the 'other' (as one's standard of moral value, I add)." That's not the 'standard of value' for Kant. Indeed, Kant only recognizes an imperfect duty to help others. (Perfect duties, which for Kant follow from contradictions in conception (of maxims), must be satisfied in all circumstances, though these are mainly negative duties; imperfect duties, which for Kant follow from contradictions in the will (expressed in maxims), however may be followed or not as the agent judges best in a particular set of circumstances.) The standard of value, as I understand Kant, is something like reason itself. That's what his famous categorical imperative tests, i.e. since reasons are by their nature shareable (that is, a reason for me to phi in a particular set of circumstances is a reason for any agent to phi in those circumstances), any proposed reason to act that is not shareable (read: universalizable) is not a genuine reason, but at best a rationalization. "Without "inclination", all one has is resentful or guilty self-sacrifice, and sacrifice of others for oneself. " Again, it's important to keep in mind that Kant was not against acting in accord with inclination - that is, enjoying doing what morality demands - but acting from inclination - that is, doing what morality demands only because you enjoy it. Indeed, he thought that we had something akin to a duty to cultivate our inclinations so as to provide the least resistance to acting from duty.
  3. Today
  4. If you'd look back over this, I brought in Rand's "organism" as a possible cause of confusion. I said (from memory) :"it threw me too, at the time" and for some while. Very important, to allay confusion, to distinguish "organism'" ("The standard is the organism's life") -- from "man" and standard of value. An amoeba, etc. doesn't know, it just lives or dies. Good, ta Eioul.
  5. Why did you exclude man from Rand's examples of an organism? Did you miss it on page 17? Do you see where she says "if an organism fails in the basic functions required by its nature--if an amoeba's protoplasm stops assimilating food, or if a man's heart stops beating--the organism dies"? Doesn't this undermine your representation of Rand's argument? You mixed up the examples she gave for functions of an organism with the examples she gave for organisms themselves, thereby missing her entire point regarding "an organism's life is its standard of value." You have missed the objective basis for the Objectivist ethics. If you're willing to focus on this particular issue and textual passage, perhaps we can make this thread productive again.
  6. I still see it, dunno why you don't.
  7. Eric, Once more I recognize what you relate interpreting Kant, simply his whole lot of equivocation about moral worth and duty. Always, you'll know, stressing the 'other' (as one's standard of moral value, I add). Since you've studied both, you know how alien this is in Objectivism. There is and must be, objectively, "inclination" (perceived value) in one's helping hand for others. One sees another's plight, identifies, evaluates, feels sympathy and responds to the disvalue of their circumstance. And right, takes pleasure in seeing them regain their footing. Or, if not of personal value, one doesn't ~have~ to help. Without "inclination", all one has is resentful or guilty self-sacrifice, and sacrifice of others for oneself. And Kant wanted his moral duty "universalized" (projected) by the individual himself, as well. AND, "the good will" is all. No matter whether one's acts are actually concretized, merely having the good intention is enough. Call me delusional, but what I see (universally) today, is much of the above. While not all Kant's doing, there are others. But everywhere you look today is the overwhelming, unquestioned meme of duty to 'others' - and one's life is not one's own. Plenty of hypocritical "virtue-signalling", which never adds up to anything - the display is what counts...
  8. An Objectivist overhears the conversation and decides to interject... An analogy about gardening, bee-keeping, playing sport ...whatever- is simply that - analogous; illustrating one's point - not an argument. A respondent is not duty bound to reply in kind, or to continue in imprecise metaphors which must eventually conceal rather than enlighten, and is entitled to transpose that into terms of what the analogy *means* in actuality and reason, its premises and consequences. Yup, me too. "I've about had it" with the misrepresentation going on of Objectivist ethics: of what Rand actually meant and concisely, constantly and repeatedly wrote. But further, beyond her thinking, what any O'ist conceptualist should indenpendently recognize as true to reality, man and existence, derived from his thinking and experience. If anyone is looking for a nicely simplified, 'logical syllogism' to condense Objectivist ethics -- look deeper . Rand's explication is comprehensive and needs to be - resting on metaphysical reality and abstracted, "conceptual logic". Fact -> value; Reality is the standard of reason. Man's life is the standard of value.
  9. I’ll discuss this with you. Start a new thread and we can discuss your hypothetical. That’s my offer.
  10. Please read the OP carefully and be intellectually honest and true to the botanist’s goal, the tree, and plan, to write a code for the gardener. I’ve about had it with straw men, double standards, evasion, ulterior motives, unoriginal thought, and twisting of words from others in the past, so please bring an open honest rational mind to this and we can have an interesting discussion. Perhaps your character can be a biologist sitting at the next table? I’ll give back any responses from the botanist and the friend. Sound good? A biologist at the next table overhears the conversation and decides to interject...
  11. Hey Eiuol. Looking through All Activity, I can't find the thread I started, "Man's life or your life?" ?
  12. It is of course the same subject. Standard of value: man's life or your own life? A tall tree in the forest sees how tall is he is, looking down upon those other puny trees - and declares to the forest: "My height is the standard of height, by which all trees are to be measured". Still don't get it? Subjectivism and relativism?
  13. Do you believe it's politeness to begin a topic which obviously refers to my topic, almost quoting me verbatim? Mimicking my subject title, in the process? In my book, that's rudeness.
  14. Reproduction by William Stone, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. I am grateful to Bruce Yandle of the American Institute for Economic Research for reminding America, in this age of tariffs, of the Boston Tea Party and what it implied to its participants: The Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773 was a powerful protest by a freedom-loving group called the Sons of Liberty against the British government's decision to impose a tax -- a tariff -- on tea imported from China to the Colonies. The protestors opposed an arbitrary government action, which they saw as an infringement on their rights as Englishmen.And, in case this historical review isn't sufficient to give the reader at least a sense of irony about our Chief Executive acting like an English monarch in his purported effort to "make America great again," Yandle makes things more explicit: Thomas Jefferson, the Enlightenment thinker who penned [the preamble to the Declaration of Independence], saw this new nation as an experiment in liberty, one where free people ... with rights ... could pursue happiness. And how might they go about doing so? By cooperating and engaging in mutually beneficial exchange in the world's marketplace. These free people would not be inhibited by government, but assisted by it in their happiness pursuits.This is a profound point: By dictating to the American people with whom they may trade and on what terms, our government is indeed doing the exact opposite of what it was intended to do. To make America great again, one must have some idea of what made her great in the first place. By imposing tariffs, Trump eloquently demonstrates that he does not fully understand his self-proclaimed mission. -- CAV Link to Original
  15. I think they are both wrong. Do you mind if I respond by speaking from the view of a third character?
  16. Yesterday
  17. I have asked politely that you refrain from going off topic in this thread. I in no way make excuses or justifications for my comments on your previous thread, but have asked that we conduct ourselves differently going forward. Do you believe purposefully going off topic after being politely asked to address the discussion of the OP constitutes correct and proper forum conduct? Are you of the view that past transgressions on my part justify current and/or future transgressions on your part? I ask you again, please, out of politeness stay on topic, or start a new one.
  18. The '"discussion" is all of the same "discussion". You brought your "discussion" to a thread I opened, with no objections from me. Which you've riffed off. Now, you want it your way. Sorry, no.
  19. Hello Whynot.. I have a particular discussion in mind for this thread. If you do not wish to have that discussion, and wish to have a discussion on a different topic of your choosing, please start your own thread.
  20. "Abstract parallel"? "Analogous fashion"? Do you not see the "conceptual chain" from man to individual? If you disagree with Rand - in *your* understanding - let us hear you dissect her writings. Otherwise, I take this as simple sophistry, without comprehension of what she wrote. Begin with "...holds man's life as the standard of value--and his own life as..."
  21. What is "mystical", is the belief that man's mind does not have identity. In avoidance of this metaphysical fact, one is lead to the empiricists. (The converse of rationalism - empiricism/skepticism - is another pitfall to beware of).
  22. The OP was not about a moral code for the tree, as the tree cannot use one. The OP was, however, about a code of values to guide choices and actions for the gardener which are directed toward a certain end. It is the Objectivist friend who sees the abstract parallel and wishes to analyze the creation of such a code in an analogous fashion to his understanding (correct or not) of morality as he believes Rand formulated it. I now deeply regret going off topic, I should have stayed on point with the OP, since it is not fraught with all that baggage associated with the topic I went OFF on. I like your example of biology... clearly the science of biology consists of knowledge and abstract principles pertaining to biological entities. It must be kept in mind that the biological principles of trees do not apply to science of biology, those principles are part OF the science of biology and they apply to concrete individual trees. I am still eager for someone to make an HONEST attempt to write a convincing version of what this friend said about the actual differences between the two codes, and why (and how) the first code would actually be deficient. Of course I assume (for the nonce) it was possible for the friend to do this with valid arguments and no straw men...
  23. Lose the objective foundation of rational selfishness, it turns into a subjective free for all, and bang goes "rational". And THEN, the critics, as if I care for them, could have a valid counter. Revealing, no one here tries directly taking on Rand, on "man's life is the standard of value" and all the rest... ...good luck with that.
  24. In my experience it's because objective value was the final hill to climb. Therefore, a "code of values" (this ethics) can be difficult to take in. The 'background noise' from the influence of the two other long-dominant, mixed, theories of value - especially intrinsic value - that *everyone* has had and observed around them, growing up and seeing their effects - not always so wrong, imo - makes discerning and distinguishing "objective value" quite hard.
  25. At the Central Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association in February 2020 (Chicago, Palmer House), the topic of the Ayn Rand Society session will be "Aristotle and Rand on the Standard of Value." James Lennox will chair the session. Greg Salmieri will deliver the paper "'Man's Life' in the Ethics of Rand and Aristotle". The commentator will be Joseph Karbowski. Thursday, 27 February 2020, 7:30-10:30 pm.
  26. There's no compulsion here. Objectivism hasn't any "imperatives". IF anyone wants a good, fulfilling life, holding and surrounded by values and making one's own, one ~would~ choose to live as "man", by virtue of "his" identity. Transposing that high abstraction into the life of each individual must (if he wants) involve one carrying it out in ongoing action. Otherwise, such virtue-qualities which are proper to man, as (e.g.) pride, productiveness, independence remain just words on paper and a priori abstractions. (Objectivists would know that virtues are a self-serving means; not ends in themselves). Could be that's a part of the perceived problem about rational egoism, often treated uncertainly and ambivalently by O'ists: inaction or insufficient practice, caused usually by rationalism - by admiring *the principle* of virtues that look fine in theory, like other ideas, but aren't continuously tested out and justified in the daily activity of one's life. But clearly the effectiveness of one's acknowledgment-in-action of the value-standard, man's life, will soon become apparent, validating further practice . These habitual applications to one's particular, individual life involve intricacies and variables that are too numerous to recount, obviously. As one does with reduction from principles to percepts to (many) real things, which keep one's ideas attached to reality, what is evident is one's own life is the 'grounding' of this moral code. If one chooses.
  27. You might be interested to know how Peikoff changed a particular paragraph on the standard of value between his 1976 lecture "The Philosophy of Objectivism" and his book OPAR, published in 1991. After arguing, in '76, that lower organisms act automatically and that "implicitly life is the standard of value guiding their actions," he continues: Fifteen years later, in OPAR, he says that for plants and animals, "implicitly, life is their inbuilt standard of value, which determines all their goals and actions." He added "inbuilt," and changed "guiding their actions" to "determines all their goals and actions." Then the following paragraph looks like this: Note that he added the phrase "leaving aside his internal bodily processes," which did not appear in his 1976 lecture. I find this to be a strange revision. Let's imagine that we keep man's internal bodily processes with the rest of him, would he now have an inbuilt standard of value, like the lower animals? Why must we disregard such a large part of him? It seems to me that my internal bodily processes make up the bulk of my existence. What would I be without them: a disembodied mind? Is it just my mind that lacks an inbuilt standard of value? Or am I allowed to retain my external bodily processes? Though I'm not sure what that would mean, since even hair growth involves internal processes below the surface of the skin. I might consider the rest of those quotes later, but right now I'll turn to the question of whether Peikoff has accurately represented Rand's philosophy. Because she approved of and attended his '76 course, it can easily be argued that she agreed that "man has no built-in, pre-programmed standard of value." However, those are still Peikoff's words, despite Rand's endorsement. So let's also consider what she, herself, wrote in The Objectivist Ethics (1961): Here she makes no initial division between the lower species and man, and she doesn't use words like "implicit" and "inbuilt." She talks generally about an organism, from an amoeba to a man. And she argues for its life being its standard of value. She must mean "standard of value" in the widest, biological sense of the concept. For it isn't until later in the essay that she narrowly identifies "the standard of value of the Objectivist ethics," which, of course, is "man's life." (p. 25) It seems to me that Peikoff conflated the biological standard of value (an organism's life) with the Objectivist standard of value (man's life), in his attempt to reformulate Rand's philosophy. And since Rand apparently approved of his '76 formulation, Objectivists will likely debate this issue until the end of time.
  28. Writing at RealClear Markets, Jimmy Sengenberger of the Millennial Policy Center rightly calls the media on its predictable and incorrect adulation of nearly every left-wing program as "ambitious:" Minds change one at a time, and almost never all at once. (Image by Mael Balland, via Unsplash, license.) For some reason, massive entitlements and intricate bureaucracies are always and necessarily intrepid policy proposals. Yet there's nothing genuinely "ambitious" or "bold" about pitching complex, massive programs to give people "free stuff" and make "the top 1%" pay for it. The reality is that this path -- the big government path -- is truly the easy thing to do.This much is correct. Indeed, allowing for the confusion, common among conservatives, of "small" government with properly limited government, it is clear that Sengenberger's heart is in the right place when he goes further: "In truth, the hardest thing to accomplish is to shrink government -- its size, its scope and its power." Unfortunately the conservatives Sengenberger praises -- Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Donald Trump -- are dismal failures. If these hollow men are his inspiration, he is doomed to fail in the efforts -- with which I sympathize -- to "unleash... the unlimited potential of every individual to improve their own lives." Take just the first of these, Ronald Reagan, whom Sengenberger quotes: As Ronald Reagan said way back in 1964, "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on Earth." Truer words were never spoken. How many federal programs have been created that have really gone away?Put that together with controls breed controls, and it sounds like we are doomed. We need to dig deeper back in time and look harder for better examples to have any hope. And fortunately, I can think of two things -- foreign tyranny and the institution of slavery -- that were each far worse than any federal program today. Despite the fact that they are so far back in the rear view mirror that even today's would-be defenders of liberty often seem to have forgotten them, they hold lessons for us today. In both cases, men who regarded liberty as a moral cause did everything in their power to persuade others of the merits of their cause and to join them. Unlike Reagan (and many of their contemporaries), the abolitionists didn't tsk and pretend that slavery was some sort of unchangeable condition of nature. Nor did they propose to "reform" the inherently corrupt system they opposed, as did George Bush. And they certainly didn't "take an ax" to the institution of slavery by, say, freeing a few hundred slaves and leaving it at that -- which would be the nearest equivalent I can think of to what Trump has done regarding the regulatory state. The restoration of liberty in America, if it is to occur, will require a significant minority of people to re-embrace the individualism that was once much more common in America. That may take some time, but it is a fight worth fighting in whatever way one can. My contribution of the moment to those passing by would be to point them to the thoughts of the philosopher and energy activist Alex Epstein regarding mass movements (worth the price of admission), historian Brad Thompson on the abolition movement, and novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand on the moral foundations of liberty. -- CAV Link to Original
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